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What Fall Gnat Bites?

Autumn may be the most pleasant time of year in the Twin Cities area from a weather standpoint, but it acts as a trigger. The cooler temperatures at night mixed with the warm temperatures during the day send several insects into overwintering mode such as:

Which One Bites?

While the above list does not include every overwintering insect, it is interesting that most of them are bugs or plant feeders. Asian ladybird beetles are the exception – they feed on aphids which feed on plants. None of them are known for biting, but can on occasion get curious. The hackberry psyllid is used to feeding on plants. When it finds human skin, it may get curious and try it out. I can’t imagine it would try more than once, but with hundreds of them trying to get in, there could be a few attempts.

Where Do They Come From?

Unlike many insects we deal with the hackberry psyllid is appropriately named. They grow inside galls on the hackberry tree. If you are dealing with hackberry psyllids, there is a hackberry tree nearby. They are capable of flying and also have a significant hop, but they aren’t going to travel far for overwintering. They want to be able to find their way back to their tree.

How Do We Stop Them?

The difficult part of controlling hackberry psyllids is they are often building up numbers without people being aware of them. By the time the temperature drops low enough to tell them to find a place to stay warm over the winter, they are already in high numbers.

Additionally, they are extremely small – about 1/10 of an inch and can get through standard window screens. This is unfortunate since this is the best time of year to have windows open.

Despite the challenges, the following tips will help:

  • Inspect hackberry trees throughout the year for potential issues developing and address accordingly
  • replace larger mesh screens with a finer mesh
  • seal cracks and openings on the outside of the structure they could squeeze into
  • in some cases a barrier treatment may be warranted
hackberry psyllids getting through a window screen

Help Is Close By

Regardless of which overwintering pest has decided to give you grief, the crew at Rove Pest Control is never far away. Just give us a call and we can connect you with the information you need to keep the pests away and enjoy the spectacular weather.